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Questions in the Dail re: Posthumous awards for the crew of Dauphin 248

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  • Questions in the Dail re: Posthumous awards for the crew of Dauphin 248

    From:
    http://debates.oireachtas.ie/DDebate...=H12-2&Page=11
    http://debates.oireachtas.ie/DDebate...=H12-2&Page=12
    7. Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Defence if he will take steps to amend the time limit in the Defence Force’s regulations governing the awarding of posthumous medals and decorations to allow four members of the Air Corps, who died in County Waterford in July 1999 while carrying out a dangerous rescue mission, to be honoured with medals for their courageous service.

    Mr. O’Dea: I take this opportunity to once again acknowledge the supreme sacrifice of the Air Corps personnel who so tragically lost their lives in the Tramore helicopter crash and to extend my renewed sympathy to their families, friends and also their colleagues in the Air Corps. We all recognise and appreciate the nature of the tragic loss occasioned by their deaths. I also fully understand that the question of acknowledging their service in a tangible lasting manner is of great personal importance to the families concerned.

    The award of medals, including the Distinguished Service Medal, is governed by Defence Force Regulations, A9. The regulations set out the procedure for the award of medals, including that the award is made by the Minister on the recommendation of a military board appointed by the Chief of Staff. The recommendation must be made not later than four years after the performance of the act in respect of which the recommendation is made. I am advised by the military authorities that in spite of the tragic nature of this accident, it was not considered appropriate to initiate a recommendation for the award. Consideration of an amendment to the regulations to lengthen the timeframe within which a recommendation can be initiated does not therefore arise.

    Recognition of the devotion to duty and loyal service to the Defence Forces of the personnel who lost their lives has been marked in a very fitting and personal way by their colleagues in the Air Corps, who commissioned and installed a special memorial window in the church at Casement Aerodrome, dedicated to the memory of the four Air Corps personnel killed in the accident at Tramore on 2 July 1999. A permanent memorial was also erected by the Air Corps to their memory at Finner Camp in Donegal, where the crew had been previously stationed.

    Official recognition of this tragic loss of life was marked by my Department’s close involvement with Tramore Town Commissioners and Waterford County Council who erected a memorial in honour of the memory of the four Air Corps personnel. My Department contributed £10,000 towards this memorial and also assisted the town commissioners in the organisation of a formal ceremony in Tramore on 4 September 2000 where the memorial was unveiled by President McAleese. This ceremony was attended by the families and colleagues of those who died along with the then Minister for Defence, Deputy Michael Smith, the then Chief of Staff and senior officers. This memorial and those in Baldonnel and Finner are a fitting public acknowledgement of the crew’s devoted service to the State and to the esteem in which their service and sacrifice is held.

    Aengus Ó Snodaigh: I have a problem with the regulations. If an investigation has occurred, as in this case, until it is completed, which can sometimes take a number of months or years, the time limit is being eaten into because of the short four-year period within which a recommendation can be made. I ask the Minister to request the military authorities to look again at making a recommendation that the men be awarded a medal. They went out in very bad weather, risked life and limb in an incident which involved the rescue of a child, among others. Not making a recommendation to honour them suggests that something untoward happened. The State, while contributing to the monument that was built, has so far not taken any initiative in its own right to honour their memories. It has participated in initiatives, but has not put in place any initiative itself. It is important the sacrifice which Captains Dave O’Flaherty and Michael Baker, Sergeant Paddy Mooney and Corporal Niall Byrne made be recognised fully by the State. In the past the State has made posthumous awards. In particular, I do not know how many people in this the 90th anniversary of 1916 managed to get medals for their families, posthumously. It looked as if everybody was in the GPO at one stage. I am not saying we should demean the Distinguished Service Medal in such a way, but there should be some slight leeway. Perhaps the close of investigations might be taken for the start of the timespan rather than the date of the incident. Some way should be found to ensure the families get the medals the four men deserve for their courage on that day.

    Mr. O’Dea: Deputy Ó Snodaigh makes a very valid point as regards the time. The four year period should not include the time during which an inquiry is taking place. I shall certainly examine that. It is even more relevant as regards the other type of medal, for gallantry, because there is only a two-year timespan there. As the Deputy has rightly said, these inquiries can take a long time. That is a very valid point.

    As regards the award of medals generally, there is no reflection whatsoever on those young men. Their sacrifice is well recognised. I want to be as sensitive as I can, given that there are families involved. The fact is that medals are awarded by the military. My function is merely a rubber stamp in these matters. As a result of the military board of inquiry the recommendation comes to me and I simply sign off on it. I am certain there has been no case in the history of the State where the military decided to either award or not award a medal, which was totally within its own power, where the Minister for Defence intervened to question such a decision. That is the reality.

    However, in view of Deputy Ó Snodaigh’s interest in this matter I will take a look at the criteria used internationally as regards medals of this type. I will discuss those criteria with the military. The procedure, as regards the awarding of medals, is that the recommendation must come from within the Defence Forces, to the Chief of Staff. He must be persuaded there is a case. He then appoints a military board to establish whether there is a case. I shall look at the international situation to determine whether norms exist about which I can talk to the military.

    Mr. Timmins: Deputy Ó Snodaigh’s point is well made and I support it. Will the Minister say whether any outstanding issues remain as regards the families concerned? I know the Department of Defence was in discussion with one or more of the families as regards outstanding liabilities. I wonder whether these matters have been finalised.

    Finally, will he consider re-establishing the Air Corps search and rescue service? It is a terrible loss. I know it was not lost strictly for political reasons and that there were internal difficulties. I ask him to review the question of re-establishing the service. It was lifeblood to the Air Corps.

    Mr. O’Dea: As regards Deputy Timmins’s first question, I understand that all the civil matters have not been settled, awards of damages etc.

    As regards the search and rescue service, we have discussed this matter in the House previously. The reason the search and rescue service was replaced in the only place where it remained, the north west, was because it could not guarantee a 24-hour service. My understanding now is that the new service put in place in the north west, similar to that for the rest of the country, is working very well. I assume that is what the Deputy is referring to. My advice is that it is working very well. If the Deputy has any information to the effect that it is not, I would appreciate him drawing it to my attention.

    Mr. Costello: I extend my sympathy to the families of the four members of the Air Corps who died in such tragic circumstances. Will the Minister say why there should be a time limit as regards the awarding of posthumous honours to somebody? Yesterday was the 100th anniversary of the Dreyfus affair. Many years go by before certain matters can ever be resolved. I do not see that it serves any purpose. Would it not be best to eliminate the time limit?

    Mr. O’Dea: In any legislation with a time limit, the reason given for it will be to bring finality to a situation. In cases where people have died, the Deputy may well have a point. I will give some thought to it.
    At time of posting, 7 years and 3 days have passed since the tragic accident. Frankly, if the DF hands out the DSM to former Chiefs of Staff just for having been Chief of Staff, they should award them to 4 men who gave their lives due to substandard equipment.

  • #2
    I think the guys involved would be turning in their graves to think that a member of SF was presenting their case to the Dail. They are turning the issue in to a political manifesto.

    When the issue is put forward by a credible organisation..then the issue should be reviited.

    This was my reason for the DSM thread without wanting to undermine the deeds of these four Airmen.

    is the award worthy of their action....I think not. But they are worthy of an award which recognises feats of unselfish bravery..and not awarde because some one spent alot of time in the DF.
    Covid 19 is not over ....it's still very real..Hand Hygiene, Social Distancing and Masks.. keep safe

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by hptmurphy
      I think the guys involved would be turning in their graves to think that a member of SF was presenting their case to the Dail.
      It's pretty repugnant alright.
      Meh.

      Comment


      • #4
        Does the military star not cover their sacrifice, rather than the DSM?


        Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi all
          With the utmost respect, I'd be loath to award a gong to unfortunates who died in an accident.Should a man get a gong for crashing in a helicopter as opposed to a rollover in a LandRover? The accident was more related to bad weather than anything else.I've no problem with memorials or whatever but DSMs, no.
          regards
          GttC

          Comment


          • #6
            I must say I agree with Gone to TheCanner. It was a tragic accident but not a case for the award of medals.
            ________
            SHADOW
            Smithy
            Corporal
            Last edited by Smithy; 9 March 2011, 13:59.

            Comment


            • #7
              I mean in no way to take anything away from scarifice that the 4 souls made.

              DSMs have been awarded to SAR crews in the past for completing much more hazardous rescues than this incident. Although at the same time, the servicability and supportability of the aircraft was better than it was at the time of the crash.

              That others might live.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Goldie fish
                Does the military star not cover their sacrifice, rather than the DSM?
                No, AFAIK the military star is awarded to deceased personnel serving overseas.

                Comment


                • #9
                  It's interesting to note how Sinn Fein are trying to make capital out of the sacrifice of members of the Defence Forces while simultaneously trying to brush the sacrifice of Gardai under the carpet.
                  "The dolphins were monkeys that didn't like the land, walked back to the water, went back from the sand."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I agree there should be some award to those who die on service related missions...but as I said the isuing of DSMs has been some what tainted by it over use.

                    Given that the Wife of The captain recieved a handsome pay out fom the minister...was this not recognition enough. I don't know how the other parties fared out..but I do know the widow Flaherty did quite well..and no doubt got a few quid for featuring in Lorna Siggins Book.

                    The other guilty party in the Incident..the Airprt escaped without punishement and was never sued by any of the bereaved parties..although a large portion of the balme did lie at their door. The repot findings were very slow to apportion blame to the airport board...and mangement at the time..given the total lack of professional judgement shown by the airport manager on the night in question.
                    Covid 19 is not over ....it's still very real..Hand Hygiene, Social Distancing and Masks.. keep safe

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by hptmurphy
                      The other guilty party in the Incident..the Airport escaped without punishement and was never sued by any of the bereaved parties..although a large portion of the balme did lie at their door. The repot findings were very slow to apportion blame to the airport board...and mangement at the time..given the total lack of professional judgement shown by the airport manager on the night in question.
                      Yes and the failure of the DOD (along with the airport authority) to ensure that a suitably certified Air Traffic Controller was available along with a fire fighting capability and vitally suitable accomodiation.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by hptmurphy
                        The other guilty party in the Incident..the Airprt escaped without punishement and was never sued by any of the bereaved parties..although a large portion of the balme did lie at their door.
                        Muph, the DOD posted the chopper to Waterford- they and they alone should have ensured that the apprpriate personnel ,equipment and resourses were available. Ergo they (DoD) and they alone are responsible

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          No..incorrect . I worked at said same airport for 6 years..albeit a couple of years before the crash. I know what happened at the place..I know how it was run.. I know..or knew the people named in the crash.

                          I have spoken to the airport people,,former colleagues of mine..they gave the facts...some others gave a completely different aspect..read the report..when you have some one in the tower with no qualification..and very little expierience..and there is also some one there with qualifications( AFISO)..all though I belive it to have lapsed..now who had the better judgement..who had the responsiblity...I had been put in similar situations over the years....the scope of the investigation was lacking..and the blame was picked up by the state as a liscensed airport in financially difficulty..could not be percieved to be at fault..other wise every passenger who had used the place would sue..and no one else would ever use it,

                          It was easier for the minister of defence to pick up the tab..rather than the whole liscensing autority being put under scruitiny....
                          hptmurphy
                          Commander in Chief
                          Last edited by hptmurphy; 10 July 2006, 22:54.
                          Covid 19 is not over ....it's still very real..Hand Hygiene, Social Distancing and Masks.. keep safe

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by hptmurphy
                            Given that the Wife of The captain recieved a handsome pay out fom the minister...was this not recognition enough.
                            No.
                            Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I Note O Sonadaigh did not ask for a posthemous medal for Pte Kelly

                              who was killed in the Don Tidey shoot out

                              by people mr o snodaigh may have knowledge of

                              It sickens my tits when that sinn fein scum asks questions in relation the DF

                              every time any one of those scum ask any questions it should always be returned to them with

                              condemn the murder of mc cabe and mcconville

                              and are you lads ever going to return every penny you robbed and de frauded this state out of
                              Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
                              Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
                              The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere***
                              The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
                              The best lack all conviction, while the worst
                              Are full of passionate intensity.

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